A Stillborn Heart

October 31, 2010 by Audreys · 1 Comment 

There was a time recently when I looked back to the day Katelyn Grace died and felt numb inside. It started on August 15th; 2 years to the day from when Katelyn was born still. Without knowing it, my grieving of her changed and my own heart became stillborn. I lost my joy and started to withdraw from my quiet time with the Lord. This might sound elementary, but it is more damaging than you realize.  Believe me when I say that there is no worse feeling than when you lose your joy. Joy is pure, innocent delight and happiness. It is the feeling that you just want to start rejoicing for the utter beauty of what you feel. It is knowing you have a savior that loves you with an everlasting love.  The opposite is misery, sorrow, and utter despair. It is really grief without hope.  And it is not a feeling I ever want to experience again. 

I couldn’t wait to get my joy back. I knew that all I had to do was ask and God would answer my need. But instead, I waited a while. I was afraid my memories of spending those few hours with Katelyn would grow more distant as time passes, and in doing so I lost sight of the big picture.  But God brought me back to Him and once again graced me with the joy I needed to truly trust in Him.   I remember reading this verse from Psalms and being comforted by the promise that He will hear me when I cry out to Him.  “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.”Psalm 77:1

Whether we think we need it or not, we do need God’s grace every minute of every day.  It is very easy to lose sight of that when everything in our lives is going exactly how we want it to. But when things go awry, we quickly realize that without God’s grace we would not be able to get through each of these seasons. Looking back to the months before Katelyn was born still, I admit that I lost sight of that. I wasn’t looking forward to Katelyn’s birth as a gift from God; rather I was looking forward to her birth since that was what I expected. I was expecting her to be born healthy, strong and beautiful. It never even crossed my mind that anything tragic would happen to her. I was expecting everything to work out as planned.  We call it ‘expecting a child’ because that is exactly what mothers and fathers everywhere are doing.  They are expecting a child. They are expecting the dream of becoming a parent to come true. They are not giving any thought to something happening outside of their expectations.  So when a baby dies, it is common to go through a period of time where you feel completely lost. And for those of you like us who have no medical answers as to why your baby died, it is even more difficult to keep your thoughts on the path to healing. But it is even more difficult to grieve without joy, without knowing deep down that God is crying with you. So if you feel you have lost your joy, just say a simple prayer and ask God to make your heart fruitful again, to bring the joy of being with Him back into your heart. And He will…

When Katelyn was born without life, I was reminded of God’s comfort, of God’s compassion, of His presence with us everywhere we go. It also became clearer to me that there is a bigger picture. We might not be planners, but God is. Sometimes it is hard to believe that the same God who spoke the universe into being chose us to spread His word through Baby Angel Grace. Even though Katelyn had to be born in Heaven for God to fulfill His purpose for us, I am ever thankful for His grace and the pure joy in knowing she is in His arms and we will see her again.

I leave you with a verse that made me smile after I finished writing this post. I pray it does the same for you. “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” Psalm 119:50




Stillborn but Still Born - 2 Years Later

August 15, 2010 by Audreys · 2 Comments 

Katelyn Grace would have turned 2 years old today.  She opened her eyes to see Jesus 730 days ago but it feels like it was only yesterday when we kissed her rosy cheeks for the last time and said goodbye.  I wish I could tell you living without her has become easier over time, but it hasn’t.  The truth is time doesn’t heal; the empty feeling might come and go but it will never leave you.  Honestly, I wouldn’t want it to.  The first time I start my day not missing her is the first day I spend in Heaven with her.      

Baby Angel Grace was created not only to keep Katelyn’s memory alive, but to remind us that God has a purpose in everything that happens to us or near us.  Katelyn’s purpose was to draw us closer to God; her loss went far beyond that.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents and the like have come to realize that through God’s grace we will see her and every other stillborn baby boy and girl again one day.  No matter how far away God may seem when we lose someone we love, the truth is He is right there with us.  By clinging to his promises, we can rest in the knowledge that we will one day be reunited with our Savior and our little girl. 

Building 429 has a new song called “Always”.  I encourage you to listen to it or even watch the video.  It is a powerful song of how important it is to remember that God is with us during our trials, during our losses, during our rainy days and during our times of joy.  No matter what, He will always be with us.  Here is the one line that I cling to every time I think of Katelyn…

“Even when all hope is gone God knows our pain and His promise remains, He will be with you always”

Building 429 - Always

God blessed us with a little boy named Blake just less than a year after we lost Katelyn.  He will never replace her or take her place, but he has added more joy to our lives than we thought possible.  I have to admit I treasure every single moment with him (even the whiny ones) because I know how it feels to  lose a baby, and I know now more than ever that life is so precious, so fleeting, that I would be missing out if I didn’t.    

So…until we meet Katelyn again, we will keep praying that God will continue His purposes through her loss - helping every person who visits Baby Angel Grace know that He will be with them always and know that if they choose to follow Him as their Savior, they will see their little baby girl or boy again one day.  

When People Ask If You Have Children Or How Many…

November 5, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

How do you respond?
Many times since we were blessed with our son Blake in August of this year, we are asked if he is our only child. He is obviously not our only child since Katelyn is our firstborn, but it is tough to find the right way to answer this question. Our typical answer? No, he is our second child. If we do not go on to tell them about Katelyn Grace, undoubtedly the next question is, ‘Well where is he or she?’
Scott and I usually look at each other, not always sure how to respond depending on where we are and who is asking. Our standard answer has been that we had a little girl, but she did not make it home from the hospital.
Around 99% of the time, people just say ‘I’m sorry’. We assure them that they didn’t know, so they should not feel bad about their question. Sometimes, depending on the audience, I will even pull out a picture or two of Katelyn to show them. I rarely leave home without her pictures, mainly because I find comfort in being able to pull them out and look at them wherever I am. Honestly, I feel like something is missing when I don’t have her pictures with me.
The other day as we were walking away from a store in which we were asked about how many children we have and where the other one ‘was’, Scott came up with the best answer to use in the future. When people ask us where Katelyn is, he suggested that we answer “She is with Jesus”. I can honestly say that I was speechless for a few seconds. What a testimony of strong faith shown in such a simple, but profound statement!
Before Blake was born, and people asked us if we had any children, I would answer ‘Yes, but we lost our little girl last year. She was stillborn.” Scott has always answered ‘We had a little girl, but she did not make it home from the hospital.” Since Blake was born, we have never once said that he have one child; that would be a lie. We have and always will have 2 children. Even though Katelyn was born and is growing up in Heaven, she is still and always will be our little girl.
Going forward, I want our answer to be that we have 2 children, Blake Alexander and our little girl Katelyn who is with Jesus. That is the only truth we know.
My advice to you? Don’t discount your baby’s existence even though he or she is in Heaven. Use people’s questions as an opportunity to share your faith, even in 4 short words: He/She is with Jesus.
She was stillborn, but she was Still Born.

Joy of One, Loss of Another

August 20, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

On August 6, 2009 we celebrated the birth of our son Blake Alexander.  9 days later we remembered the one year anniversary of the loss of our daughter Katelyn Grace. 

I have to admit, those were a tough couple of weeks.  The excitement and pure joy of looking into the eyes of my beautiful, healthy newborn son was a feeling I never imagined.  I felt even more blessed because I know how a loss can impact you and how the gift of life becomes more precious than ever.  Katelyn’s memory was so close to the surface that I spent a lot of time crying because a part of my heart is still (and always will be) empty.  I also spent a lot of time crying for pure joy because Jesus gave Scott and I a gift like no other in our little boy.      

As Blake was about to come into this world, I was given another very special gift; I suddenly had an image of Jesus holding Katelyn’s hand, standing and waiting.  As soon as Blake was born, I saw Katelyn jumping up and down in excitement.  Her dark curls bounced up and down as she clapped her hands.  Jesus stood calmly beside her, laughing with her excitement.  As Jesus took her by the hand and led her away, she turned, put her tiny hand on her lips and blew me a kiss before skipping off into the distance.

Now I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that there is a way we can communicate with our loved ones who have passed, or that they can somehow communicate with us.  There is nothing further from the truth.  The image in my mind was no doubt a gift from Jesus.  It was His way of letting me know that Katelyn would be excited about having a younger brother and that she knows that she will always be a part of our family.  She will always be our firstborn daughter and WE WILL meet her again someday. 

Katelyn will never be forgotten.  She was born in Heaven so to bring her Daddy and I closer to Jesus and so that we could be a resource to other parents of stillborn children.  I know and believe that without a doubt.      

As I held Blake for the first time I remember that I almost felt guilty for my happiness.  He so closely resembled Katelyn with his little apple cheeks, his dark wavy hair, and his cute little button nose.  That guilt quickly disappeared as I hugged my little boy close to my heart.  He is not a replacement for Katelyn; he is just a beautiful little boy that we will treasure forever. 

As each day passes I see more and more of Katelyn Grace in Blake, and I thank God every day for this precious little bundle that did not take Katelyn’s place, but rather gave us the hope that not only will we see Katelyn again but that we are blessed because we have turned her loss into a way to help other families with similar losses. 

My prayer is that every family who has suffered an infant loss will place their trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Without Him, we would be lost in our grief.  By putting our trust in Him we have been given a new life that we will dedicate to Him.          

“I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.”Psalm 77:1

Jesus heard our prayer and he answered it with a little boy named Blake.

She Was Never Alone

August 4, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

As we approach the one year mark of when our precious Katelyn Grace went to Heaven, all the memories of that day have been coming back more and more.

Oftentimes I still battle with the feeling that there was a time when Katelyn was alone.  I know in my heart that Jesus has been with her since she was first conceived, but I feel like I let her down.  I remember taking one last look at my baby girl in the hospital room before leaving on the same day she was born.  I couldn’t bring myself to leave the room until a nurse came in to stay with her.  I didn’t want to leave her alone until the people from the funeral home came to pick her up. 

The next and last time I saw her was in the funeral home.  She was in a little bassinet on a table in the front of a small room.  I remember walking into the room and just wanting to run to her and hold her in my arms.  I wanted to hold her one last time. 

As my husband and I stood on both sides of the bassinet, I noticed how she looked so tiny, so fragile, so helpless….so alone.  She was so cold, but yet so beautiful and real to me.  Scott and I placed rose petals around her with the note that I wrote to her when we first arrived at the hospital to deliver her.  

I remember our pastor coming to perform her service.  He was also at the hospital the morning she was born.  I had asked him to baptize her, but he stated with gentle conviction that she was not there with us, that she was already in Heaven.  He was right.  Even though I knew she was gone, I was holding her in my arms and at that moment staring down at her beautiful black curly hair and innocent face, I desperately wanted to believe that she was really there with me. 

Even at her service, God gave our pastor the words to speak not only the truth of where Katelyn was, but also that she was never alone, and never will be.   Those words still give me comfort, but I still struggle with her loss and I know I always will.

There is a song by the David Crowder Band titled “Come Awake”.  I often listen to this song because I can picture Jesus gently whispering to Katelyn to wake up and come with him.  The words to this song are just amazing.  ….’Come Awake from Sleep, Arise’…. It amazes me how God has given the gift of words such as these to some of us here on earth.  He has his hand in so much more than we can ever comprehend.

I honestly can’t imagine grieving Katelyn’s loss without the hope we have in Jesus Christ, and knowing without a doubt that not only will he never leave us just like he has never left Katelyn, not even for a moment.  I look at grieving as an expression of love, more than of loss.  It is a love of another that is so strong that living without another hurts your heart. 

So as we approach this one year mark, our grief will continue, but I can smile knowing that we will see her again.  Until then…we will trust in our Heavenly Father to take care of her (and of us).

I leave you tonight with one of God’s promises…“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Katelyn was stillborn, but she was Still Born, and through God’s promises we know that she will never be alone.

A Unique Opportunity – Offering Advice to Doctors

June 25, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

Scott and I were asked to tell Katelyn’s story this morning to a group of about 50 doctors at Northwestern Hospital.  They wanted to learn more about our experience with losing Katelyn and how the medical community could better handle cases when an infant dies. 

In my heart I know God was there with us, because although we have told our story countless times, the content was a bit different this time.  We had to vocalize the most painful parts we endured with the doctors, the initial grief, the ‘event’ itself and then tell them what could have been done differently.    

Remembering back to 10 ½ months ago when we first learned Katelyn’s heart stopped brought tears to my eyes.  I felt like I was taken back to that ultrasound room where I received a head nod when I asked if she was dead.    God gave me the grace and composure to continue on with our story and the advice we had for the doctors.

Our advice to the doctors was first and foremost “Listen to your patients.”  When a mother calls her doctor because she instinctively knows something is not right with her baby, listen to her and insist that she come in to the office as soon as she can.   Some of the other advice we gave them was:

    • When a patient comes into the office after calling to tell you that she has not felt her baby move for a long time, don’t make her sit in the waiting room.  In our case, I had to sit in the waiting room for 35 minutes before they would see me. 
    • We know how these families feel and we also know that a connection like this was something we needed and wanted after Katelyn died.
    • Never refer to the baby as “it” or “IUFD” (Intrauterine Fetal Death or In Utero Fetal Demise) in any conversations with the family or on any paperwork given to them.  To this date, the doctor will not put Katelyn Grace’s name on her medical records.  Even though she was born without life, she was Still Born.
    • Do the thinking for the patient – take a mold of the footprints, make an ID bracelet for the baby with his/her name on it, etc.
    • When the patient asks for something, try to accommodate them.  Losing a child is not only unbearable, but unknown territory for the parents
    • Remember that the baby might be a statistic to society, but he/she is a big part of someone’s family
    • Offer the option for a NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) photographer to come in and take pictures.  This was offered to us and we can’t imagine going a day without looking at her pictures.  She was truly beautiful.

    Do I blame the doctor we had for Katelyn’s death?  I must admit, I actually did at first.  I think it is a natural thing when a child dies with no medical explanation.  Do I blame myself?  I admit I do that sometimes too.  But then I remember that we live in a fallen world and only God has control over life and death.  I know in my heart that the pain of losing Katelyn Grace will never go away while Scott and I are here on this earth, but there is comfort in knowing that she is with Jesus and we will see her again someday.  In the meantime, we can rest in the knowledge that she is without pain, without tears, without fear or loneliness.  She was made perfect in the image of God and remains right there with him. 

    She was Stillborn, but she was Still Born.


    Mother’s Day

    May 10, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

    Just thinking about Mother’s Day brought some sadness with it because Katelyn was not here to spend the day with us.  At the same time I felt some joy in my heart because I was given the gift to become a Mom.  Sure we lost Katelyn, but we had the joy of meeting her, and were given the promise from our Father in Heaven that we will see her again. 

    Never forget that you became a Mother when you first found out you were having a baby. 

    Never forget that you became a Mom when you shed your first tear in excitement as you watched your baby move on an ultrasound, or heard his heartbeat.

    No matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, you are a mother and a mom and you will always be.

    So I pray that all Mothers whose babies were born in Heaven have a wonderful Mother’s Day.  I pray that when people ask you if you have children, that you respond similarly to how I have (based on your situation).  “Yes, I have a daughter, but she did not make it home from the hospital.”  I will always be a Mom, so will you.


    Katelyn was stillborn but she was Still Born.  Whether your babies were considered a miscarriage, stillborn, or went to Heaven soon after birth, they are all precious in Jesus’ sight.  They were all Still Born.  Never forget that.   

    A Mother’s Memories

    April 30, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

    My husband and I often wonder how different losing Katelyn would have been if we were given the chance to make memories with her.   

    I remember the first time I heard Scott mention that we don’t have any memories of Katelyn.  

    In many respects that is true.  We never saw her open her eyes nor did we ever hear her laugh.  We never felt her arms wrap around us for comfort or smile as she looked our way.  Later that night, though, I started to think about the special moments that I was able to experience with Katelyn as I carried her that a father would never fully understand.

    I remember nearly a year ago when Scott and I went dolphin watching.  No matter how hard our guide whistled for dolphins, or tried to get near them, they were always at a distance.  I had learned shortly before our trip that dolphins can sense babies and if a pregnant mother goes into the water, they often surround her.  Suffice it to say, I stayed out of the water, but as I leaned over the front of the boat a little bit dolphins started coming from all directions.  It was amazing.  They swam on both sides and came very close to the front of the boat, lifting their heads out of the water.   I can’t even describe how incredible that felt.  What an awesome God we have that created these beautiful animals with the ability to sense someone that they could not see!   


    I also remember the many nights when Scott would read stories from Dr. Seuss, Winnie the Pooh, and The Bible to Katelyn and I at night.  I would feel her jump around at the sound of his voice.  He was able to feel it from the outside, but I can only imagine how different that must have felt compared to what I felt from the inside.  She loved his voice, and no doubt would have been Daddy’s little girl.    


    Out of the numerous memories I have of Katelyn Grace, there is one that I will cherish forever in my heart.  On February 21, 2008, Scott and I went to the doctor’s for our first ultrasound appointment together.  Just looking at his face as he leaned forward to watch Katelyn move around and seeing a tear make it’s way down his cheek made me realize that I would never love anyone else in my life as much as I love my husband.  In my heart I know that even though Katelyn never ‘physically’ spent a day with us, she brought us closer together than we could have become on our own.   In my mind, she was brought to us for a reason, and now I must rest in the peace that she is making all kinds of memories in Heaven that she can share with us when Scott and I meet her there one day.


    I can’t stress enough that though she was stillborn, she was Still Born.





    Getting Through A Loss, Not Over One

    March 28, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

    There are so many cliches out there like “This too shall pass”, “Time heals all wounds”, etc. etc.  I could probably list about a dozen or so but I won’t.  Trust me, when you are going through a loss, simple words of advice offer little comfort. Some people will say ‘you will get through this’.  And they are right, you will.  Others, however, will say, ‘you will get over it’ and will expect you to ‘return to normal’ rather quickly.  My friends, these people are incorrect.  First, there is no returning to the ‘normal’ you were before; second, you will never truly get over your loss.  Your grief for your baby will forever be in your hearts.  It might not be as intense, but it will always be there. Why? Simply put, our hearts will never ever stop loving those who have gone on before us. 

    There are some weeks when I feel like every day since we lost Katelyn has brought with it another learning experience.  It is amazing how reactions from other people have had such an impact on us.  We could have written a book on all of the different ways people treated us after Katelyn died, including the words that comforted and those that didn’t.  Some friends and family chose avoidance, others compassion, others were there with us every step of the way, and still others brushed us off like we were making a big deal out of something that was not that important at all.  Following a loss like ours, it quickly becomes very apparent who truly, completely and without a doubt has Christ’s love in their hearts.  This love shone and continues to shine above all others.  What surprised us the most was the reaction from some close friends and family who claim to love the Lord with their whole being, and yet were part of the avoidance group and still remain there.  

    I have to admit, there were times when I was not always that shoulder that someone needed to cry on, or that available listener in the middle of the night.  Since we lost Katelyn, though, I look at these situations differently.  I am also more cognizant of the fact that sometimes when people are flat out mean and hurtful, there could be something they are experiencing that is causing their behavior.  The main reason is because there is no way for me to tell at face value what trials a person is going through, has already experienced, or is about to experience.  Maybe they are not even going through a trial at all. Maybe they are just miserable with life and feel better when they make everyone else feel as miserable as they do.  No matter the reason, I now fully understand that nothing I can say or do will change that person’s heart.  Only God can. 

    I remember a few weeks after Katelyn died and going back to work and feeling the pity around me and the sadness.  My wound was still fresh so I was emotionally not ‘all together’ as you might say.  I shared my story with a select few individuals at first, and then to more as time went on.  I remember vividly that there were some people who (though they did not voice this) thought I was loony or something because my faith in Jesus had grown stronger.  I was gathering all my strength from Him.  To be completely honest, I don’t think Scott or I would have been able to get through losing our baby if it wasn’t for the strength and hope we receive from Jesus. 

    A few weeks after going back to work I was literally torn to pieces during a conference call with a colleague in the company.  Since this incident happened so soon after losing Katelyn, my emotions were still very raw and close to the surface.  Rather than lashing out at this person, I used my new defense mechanism; I cried.  There were at least 10 or so people on the phone who sat on the other side of the phone silent during the whole exchange.  I received multiple instant messages from others on the phone telling me “You’re doing fine”, or “Don’t worry about it, you’re doing a good job”, etc.  Not one of them spoke up though; they were all too afraid to stand up to this person.  Was the verbal lashing I received valid?  Honestly, no.  But at that time I did not have the strength to fight back.  Professionally, I had poured myself into my work as much as I could, but emotionally I was worn down.  Why am I telling you this story? Because once you experience the loss of a baby like we did, other things that were once top priorities fall more towards the middle.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a very passionate person and still pour myself into everything that I do, but there are some things that are not as important as they once were.  The main thing I have learned is that I cannot get through this or any other less than positive experience on my own.  I need Jesus.

    Back to the whole premise of this post; I am getting through this loss, but will never fully get over it.  And that is okay.  Getting over it to me is like forgetting about Katelyn all together. That will never happen.

    There is no way I could even list all of the general and specific knowledge we have gained about people, about grief, about loss, about hope, about healing, about listening, about resting, about trusting in God, and just about getting through. I do know one thing for sure, for true healing we need to give it all to God; all our fears, our sadness, our grief.  Only He can truly give us rest and heal our hearts.  There will always be days when we break down and feel lost with our grief, but that only makes us human.  It is on these occasions that we need to pray for Jesus to carry us through.  If on these days you sometimes don’t know exactly how to ask Jesus to help you through, meditate on the words in Psalm 71:1-3:

    In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
       let me never be put to shame!
    In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
       incline your ear to me, and save me!
    Be to me a rock of refuge,
       to which I may continually come;
    you have given the command to save me,
       for you are my rock and my fortress.

    Never fear. God will never leave you or forsake you. Hold that promise close to your heart knowing that He is cradling your baby in Heaven.














    Pray For Those Left Behind

    March 21, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

    After Katelyn went to Heaven, we received many cards and letters from family members, friends, church members, pastors and even people we barely knew.  Just simply knowing that so many people had us in their prayers made each day a little easier.  We could never have endured our loss without the prayerful support of those close to us.

    We also received more than a few cards from people with notices that money was donated so that Katelyn would be part of a Mass or a Service conducted to pray for the dead.  There are many groups and churches that claim to be Bible-based and Christian, but I can say with true certainty that Katelyn doesn’t need our prayers, and neither do any of the other babies who were born without life.  They are with Jesus, so what prayers could they possibly need?

    Growing up in a strict Catholic church and school, I remember days when as a class we would pray for our loved ones who had passed since they were supposedly in a place called Purgatory.  We were taught that when people die, they go to this place and are basically there waiting for enough people to ‘pray’ for them so that they can gain passage into Heaven.  So what about the people who choose Jesus and yet have no family or loved ones to pray for them?  Do they just stay in limbo for all of eternity?  Absolutely not. Why? The answer can be found in the Bible.  Simply put, there is no mention of ‘Purgatory’ in the Bible.  Jesus never taught about a place such as this.  He did not offer us the gift of eternal life with the stipulation that we would only see Him if enough people ‘prayed us in’.  We either choose Jesus and follow Him, or we don’t.  There is no gray area.  If you need confirmation, read John 3:16: “For God so Loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

    Jesus died for our sins so that we could be forgiven if only we ask this of Him and repent.  Again, we have a choice – choose Jesus or choose the world. Period. 

    Have faith that our babies are with our Heavenly Father.  It is only through God’s grace that we have the choice to follow Jesus and live for Him, knowing that we will see Him one day and our babies too.

     So, though we appreciate the gestures of these kind souls, we want them and everyone else to know the truth.  Heaven is the only place these babies ever knew or will ever know.  They are with our Heavenly Father.  So do they need our prayers? Absolutely not.  Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”  

    So who needs prayer? The families of these babies.  They are the ones feeling the loss.  Their babies were Still Born, just in Heaven, not on earth.